The Court of Appeals of Maryland has moved back to Phase III of its emergency plan and ordered that all upcoming failure-to-pay-rent eviction trials will be postponed through February 8, 2022. If your case was postponed, the Court should notify you of a new trial date. All eviction case trials for tenant holding over and breach of lease will NOT be delayed and will continue as scheduled. Also, if an eviction judgment of any type has already been entered (failure to pay rent, tenant holding over or breach of lease), the landlord may still move forward with obtaining and executing warrants for eviction through the Sheriff. In other words, if an eviction judgment of any type has been entered, you may still be evicted before February 8. Check the Court’s website for updates: https://mdcourts.gov/coronavirusupdate
Legal services providers are available in Baltimore City and throughout the state. Anyone faced with eviction should seek legal advice and not rely on this information.
For financial assistance in Baltimore City to avoid eviction, please call 211 and the Baltimore City Community Action Partnership (CAP), 410-396-5555, https://www.bmorechildren.com/residents/#rent.
If you are a tenant and a victim of an illegal lockout or illegal eviction in Baltimore City during this crisis please visit the Court Commissioner’s office to press criminal charges:
Baltimore City District Court Commissioner
500 N. Calvert Street, Suite 200
Baltimore MD 21201
Under the newly effective City ordinance on lease renewals (Article 13, Subtit. 8C of Baltimore City Code), a landlord must offer their tenant a reasonable opportunity to renew their existing lease agreement – unless the landlord has “good cause” not to offer a renewal. Check out frequently asked questions about tenants’ rights under the ordinance.
For more information and to seek no-cost legal advice and possible representation, please call:
The content on this page was created by a collaboration of the legal services organizations listed and provides information only. Individuals considering taking action should consult with an attorney.
Existing eviction judgments are being executed by the Sheriff. Eviction trials for tenant holding over and breach of lease are proceeding as scheduled. Failure to Pay Rent trials that have not yet occurred have been postponed until after February 8, 2022. If your case was postponed, you should receive a notice from the Court with a new hearing date. Check the Court’s website for updates: https://mdcourts.gov/coronavirusupdate.
Some local jurisdictions like Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Howard County have passed laws banning or limiting late fees and rent increases during the pandemic and for a period of time after the end of the state of emergency on August 15, 2021. Many of these bans have expired or will expire soon. Seek legal advice if you are unsure whether your landlord can charge late fees or raise the rent.
You may want to send a letter or email to your landlord explaining why you cannot pay rent due to a job loss or illness. You may be able to enter into a payment plan. The landlord may agree not to evict you if you stay on the plan. You should get any agreement in writing and keep a copy of any letter or email.
For financial assistance in Baltimore City to avoid eviction, please call 211 and the Baltimore City Community Action Partnership (CAP), 410-396-5555, www.bmorechildren.com/residents/#rent. A number of jurisdictions have rental assistance programs or plan to start those programs soon.
If a landlord tries to evict you without a court order and the presence of the Sheriff/Constable or denies you essential services (water, electric, gas), that is illegal. If your landlord attempts to evict you this way, call 911 and ask for police assistance. If you are illegally evicted, you should seek legal assistance and consider filing a complaint in court against your landlord. Because the courts are only hearing emergency cases, the complaint should be filed as an emergency matter if you are trying to get back into the property. You should keep track of any expenses, including hotel bills and lost property. In Baltimore City, you may also press criminal charges against the landlord by filing a complaint with the District Court Commissioner: District Court Commissioner, 500 North Calvert St. #200, Baltimore MD 21202, phone: 410-767-5774.
You should communicate with your landlord about the problem repeatedly in writing (letter by certified mail, email, text) and keep copies. You may request a housing inspection from your local government. Many inspectors, though, are operating on a limited basis (in Baltimore City, call 311). If your landlord fails to fix the problem, you may file a complaint for rent escrow. You would then place your rent into a special escrow account with the court until the landlord makes the repairs. If you have an open rent escrow case at this time, seek legal advice. Please know that because of court and inspection delays, rent escrow cases may move more slowly at this time.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has encouraged landlords in subsidized housing to conduct remote meetings (phone calls) about income changes. HUD has also encouraged landlords to delay income recertification if you have limited or no phone service or if fear of exposure to COVID-19 prevents you from gathering materials to document income or signing the recertification. If you have a reduction in income, then you should email, text or leave a note for your landlord to report your reduction in income. If you have a Section 8 voucher, you should contact the housing authority by phone or email to report any loss of income as soon as possible.
Apartment complexes can take steps to avoid the spread of COVID-19. This includes screening visitors, limiting visitors, closing common areas, limiting gatherings in common areas, and cleaning touch-points such as elevator buttons, entry doors, and other features of the building.
Yes. You should continue to receive any in-home support or services you need, like a nursing aide, meal delivery, cleaning service, case management, etc. But landlords may limit visitors to only those that are “essential.” What is essential is based on an individual’s needs, not the landlord’s discretion. Your landlord may ask visitors a couple of questions before being allowed to enter the building.
Yes. All fair housing laws remain in effect during the COVID-19 crisis.
Please see below from the District Court for Baltimore City:
If you are unable to appear for your court date due to illness or potential exposure to COVID-19, you must make a written request for a postponement or to have a remote (by computer/phone) hearing. If you do not appear on the court date and a request for a postponement or a remote hearing is not granted, the court may enter a judgment for eviction in favor of your landlord.
To request a postponement or remote (telephone) hearing:
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or hand-deliver a written request to the court’s drop-box located at the courthouse entrance at 501 E. Fayette St, Baltimore, MD, 21202. The drop-box is checked daily. Your request must include your name, case number, current mailing address, contact number, and email address if you have one.